Have you ever wanted to share the good news of Christ, but didn’t know where to start? My last blog “Overcoming Concerns about Sharing the Gospel” encouraged people to tell others about Jesus, and now I want to equip you to do so. In my previous evangelism group, we always reviewed the “Romans Road,” a series of Scriptures from Romans that outline mankind’s depravity and how to be saved. I suggest marking these verses in your Bible and memorizing them to explain the gospel. We use God’s words instead of our own because His word is powerful and accomplishes His purposes (Isaiah 55:11).
The Romans Road
1. Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (NKJV)*.
We are all sinners. No “good people” live on planet Earth. No human being is righteous (Romans 3:10). Every person (other than Jesus) to ever walk the earth had fallen short of perfection, which is God’s standard.
2. Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
God loved us when we were His enemies. Most people don’t try to show kindness to their enemies. At the clear opposite end of the spectrum is God. Even when we were still sinners, God sent Jesus to die for us. He loved us that much. God made a way to reconcile us to Himself by pouring out His wrath that on Jesus instead of us. We deserved death because of our iniquities, but Jesus took our place.
3. Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
The penalty of sin is death. The paycheck we earn for our transgressions equates to separation from God forever. Fortunately, God gave us a gift we could never repay by sending His Son so we can receive eternal life.
4. Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”
We can’t save ourselves. We humans think we are independent. We don’t need anyone else and can do it all by ourselves. We are “good” people. However, because God’s standard is perfection, no amount of good works we do as humans will ever measure up to God’s requirements. We can’t brag about our actions and think we can save ourselves. Salvation is a gift from God. We are saved by grace through faith alone.
5. Romans 10:9-10, “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
Confess and believe in Jesus to be saved. Our salvation includes both a verbal profession of Jesus as Lord and a heart belief that that God raised Jesus from the dead. I’ve had times when I knew in my head that something was true, but it didn’t “feel” accurate. Both our heads and our hearts must engage in requesting salvation. We have both a mental and spiritual agreement when we acknowledge that we can’t save ourselves and receive the free gift of God.
6. Romans 10:13, “For ‘whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’”
God made salvation available for everyone. God loved people so much that He sent His Son to die for everyone. Jesus didn’t sacrifice Himself for a few chosen people, but for everyone to roam the earth: past, present, and future. The New Covenant He established was with all mankind, not just the children of Israel. God desires everyone to repent from their sins and come into relationship with Him.
How about you? Have you ever admitted that you were sinner and called on the name of the Lord to be saved? If not, what holds you back from receiving the gift of eternal life from the Father today? Call on Him and be saved.
If you have a relationship with Christ, have you ever memorized the Romans Road? Having Scripture in our spiritual backpack prepares us to share the gospel in all seasons (1 Peter 3:15). These verses show a logical progression of our sin that separates us from God how He made a way by sending Jesus to take the punishment we deserve. When we confess our sins and call on Him, we will be saved. Let’s share that good news today.
*All Scriptures are NKJV.
One Saturday, I volunteered at a homeless shelter and later met with separate friends to share the gospel. Our church always has a big turnout to feed the hungry. That week, almost 30 people rose early to fill empty bellies. Serving with believers energizes me because I see the body of Christ working together.
Afterwards, I tried to recruit a few folks to go witnessing at a local park. After lobbying several people, I initially was met with skepticism. One person said, "No one cares what I have to say." Another voiced, "I am glad you have the gift of evangelism." I sighed.
I get it. Often, filling a person's physical needs is easier than providing for their spiritual needs. One is tangible, and the other can seem daunting. My friends pointed out some common concerns including fear of rejection or assuming that they aren't "gifted" that way.
However, the honor of telling people about the greatness of God is not limited to those with the spiritual gift of evangelism. Jesus told all believers to share the gospel.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen.”
Matthew 28:19-20 (NKJV)
The Lord commanded us to bring light into the lives of those around us by sharing the good news of Jesus Christ (Acts 13:47). He does not limit that directive to a chosen few, but applies it to all believers. People who haven’t received the gospel will die and go to hell one day. We can’t avoid this truth simply because it is uncomfortable.
We all need someone to tell us about Jesus, despite evidence of a Creator’s design in everything on earth (Romans 1:20). Paul puts it this way:
“How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:
‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace,
Who bring glad tidings of good things!’”
Romans 10:14-15 (NKJV)
Physically, my feet are ugly. I have long scars on both, one from dropping a moving ramp on my foot and the other from a dog bite. My big toenail got crushed and looks funny. No one wants to see my feet. Except God. When I preach the gospel to my neighbors and the nations, I could be a foot model. People won't hear the hope they have in Jesus if my feet stay planted in one place.
While recognizing the need to share, maybe you've had fears like mine. The first time I told people about Jesus, I thought I’d say the wrong thing and turn people away from Christ. That line of thought makes the gospel about me instead of the Lord. The key to sharing the gospel with power is to cover the act in prayer. Then the Holy Spirit speaks through me so I don’t have to worry about what to say.
Also, I remind myself that whether someone receives the gospel or not is not my responsibility. My job is to point people to Christ. I can save zero people. Zero. Jesus saves, not Joanna.
Paul put it this way in 1 Corinthians 3:6, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase” (emphasis mine, NKJV). God grows the seeds we plant in people’s heart. Without seeds, nothing can grow. We can’t expect everyone to know Jesus, especially in today’s post-Christian society. Many people have skewed or incomplete understandings about Christ that they’ve gleaned from culture. We must love people enough to spread the truth of Jesus.
Some people may not like it when we talk about Jesus. That’s ok. As long as we speak the truth in love, bathed in prayer, the Holy Spirit will continue working in that person’s heart and mind. Sadly, they aren’t rejecting our message, they are rejecting Christ. We can’t take it personally, but release them to God for more watering.
For my friends who served the hungry, by the end of our talk they agreed to consider joining us in sharing the good news in the future. My heart sang.
So how about you? Do you share the gospel? If not, what holds you back? May we all obey God’s command to spread the good news of Jesus so that we may rejoice with God in a bountiful harvest of souls.
Prayer: Dear God, Thank You for the honor of spreading the gospel. Thank You that Jesus died for our sins and reconciles us to the Father when we repent and return to You. Please send laborers to share the good news so that many will come to know You. Help us not fear rejection or saying the wrong thing, but trust the Holy Spirit to equip us to evangelize with power. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
Once a colleague complained that I was stepping on her toes by doing her job in addition to mine. She was right. I apologized and offered to change my behavior. Yet when I ruminated more, I realized this was a recurring problem for me. In the office and in my family, I felt responsible for everything. I often believed that if I don’t do the work, things would fall apart. I had a strong desire to help others and gauged some of my worth by how useful I felt.
In the past, I had tried to stop volunteering for every opportunity and quit overworking. However, in a few months I would slip back into old habits. If I wanted to change, instead of altering my actions, I needed to get to the heart of the matter. I had to change my thoughts. Proverbs 23:7 says, “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he” (NKJV). My thought patterns show up in my behavior. In my own strength, I couldn’t break the cycle. Instead of asking God to help me act better, the Lord urged me to try another way. I needed to be brainwashed.
Normally “brainwashing” has a negative connotation. I think of people forcing little children to repeat lies over and over. Yet, my mind was full of garbage. My brain needed to be washed from the lies of Satan, condemnation, and wrong ways of thinking that lead to bad behavior. I needed the Holy Spirit to purge the junk from my mind and align it to the truths of God’s Word.
I asked the Lord to renew my mind. During my morning commute, I repeated things like:
As I spoke these truths over myself, my thoughts were scrubbed clean as my mind formed new thought patterns. Romans 12:2 says, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (NKJV).
If I want to act like Christ, I first must think like Christ. I feed my mind on the Word of God to align my thoughts to Scripture. I ask the Holy Spirit to cement these concepts in my mind so they supplant the lies of the enemy. Sanctification is a process. I can’t expect all my wrong thinking to be undone overnight. Over time, as I partner with the Lord, He will transform me by the renewing of my mind so that my heart and actions match His. Then I can prove that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Do you struggle with overloading yourself and basing your worth on your productivity like I do? Maybe there are other wrong behaviors that plague you. Have you tried for years to cut off the top of the weed by targeting the action instead of yanking it out by the roots?
My issues were so ingrained that I had to have the Holy Spirit reveal it to me through a coworker, but you don’t have to wait until someone else points out a problem. You can ask God to reveal any errant thoughts you may have so that He can teach you the truth (Psalm 139:23-24). If He brings something up, I pray God cleanses your mind so that it matches His heart for you. Ask Him what specific truths He wants you to believe. May the Holy Spirit renew us daily as we abide in the Scriptures until they “brain wash” our minds into purity before God both in thought and deed.
I grit my teeth and smiled as small hands yanked my hair into a braid. I was on mission trip in Jamaica to share the love of Jesus. Drawn by the novelty of my long blond hair, the neighborhood girls surrounded me as soon as I entered. Tears squeezed through my eyes as I prayed God would leave a few strands on my head while I honored Him in becoming all things to all people. The pain was worth the gain of loving these attention-starved little ones.
Before I set out to the Caribbean, our missions group held many training sessions. Our leaders instilled our team verses into us:
“For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” (1 Chronicles 9:19-22 NKJV)
Paul was not admonishing believers to change their personality or alter the gospel to trick people into following the Lord. Instead, he wanted Christians to find areas of commonality with others so they could connect. People don’t care what I have to say until they know I care about them. When I listen to people, I can find ways to reach them in their hurt. God longs to restore the brokenhearted. When I serve others in love, their wounds begin to heal.
I don’t have to travel to another country to go on a mission trip. Every time I leave the house, I encounter people different than me. Yet, we all are created in the image of God with spirits that scream the need for something more than just this life. I can choose to join in their suffering or walk on by and ignore them.
Instead of using my freedom in Christ to justify obedience to God and obligation to no one else, I discover that loving God means loving people. Showing God’s grace towards others by meeting them where they are at does not excuse sin, but points them to the remedy found in Christ alone.
Paul put it this way in Galatians 5:13, “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love” (NIV). I’m not to abuse my freedom as a new creation in Christ to fill my human desires. Rather, I must die to self to serve others because of Christ’s love shown on the cross.
I lost some hair that day in Jamaica, but the Lord loved those braids. While they played, I told the girls about the greatness of God and His grace for them. Though no one accepted the gospel that day, I planted seeds that I pray will grow up into righteousness. May God show us how to use the freedom He bought for us to serve all others selflessly.
Last fall, I completed a six-week Daniel fast. I entered with expectations that God was going to give me the desires of my heart in the ways I wanted and direct my steps with clear guidance. Instead, God surfaced a variety of issues He wanted to work on in my life. So many, that the top of the mountain seemed insurmountable. God wanted me to know I couldn’t climb to the peak on my own. I had to surrender to the Holy Spirit to empower me step by step each day.
Instead of God fulfilling my wish list, I got a deep scrubbing. It felt like God had taken a steel wool pad to my soul and starting rubbing out the sin. He couldn’t see His face shine in mine with all the grime of my pride. The Lord in His love for me wanted to work out my selfish motivations.
Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart” (NKJV). My will had to align to God’s heart because He would not bend to mine. Even if what I wanted was a good, if I wanted it more than God, He couldn’t give it to me. I have to delight in the Lord above all else. Then my heart will be filled with God’s desires for me.
I have to be cleaned inside before God can work out all His promises. God is scouring my spirit so that I can reflect His priorities to the world. Without a pure heart, I can’t see God (Matthew 5:8). So, because of God’s love for me, I went through the wringer.
Honestly, it hurt. Over 45 days, God surfaced 13 areas of my life that required major work. Without God’s grace, depression would have crushed my soul. Instead, I remembered that for grapes to make juice, they have to be pressed. My junk had to be removed for God’s goodness to emerge. I am pressed but not crushed, perplexed but not in despair (2 Corinthians 4:8).
God didn’t love me less because of a hard season. Instead, it demonstrated the depths of His love. If He didn’t discipline me, it would mean He had given up on me. Instead, He puts in the hard work with me to refine me.
Hebrews 12:5-6 says, “And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons:
‘My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.’”
The Lord chastens me because I am His daughter. Instead of being discouraged that I will never improve, God encourages me that He is disciplining me out of love. He doesn’t want to leave me in my current state. God wants me to experience living a holy life like Him, but knows it is impossible for me to be holy and justify my humanity with excuses (Hebrews 12:7-10). He sees through my problems, diligently polishing my heart until I look more and more like His Son.
Sometimes, I feel like I’m being rung out on one of those vintage washboards where you scrape off the stains by repeatedly rubbing the cloth up and down metal grooves. Every bump of the board jolts me. Hebrews 12:11 says, “Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it” (NKJV). Chastening is not fun. It is painful. Yet, I look for the glory of God He will bring from this growth. Good fruit for His kingdom is coming my way. If God has worked to prune away so much of my life, it is to make room for a more fruit (John 15:1-2). I await a harvest of His glory from this wilderness time of life.
How about you? Are you pleading with the Lord for something and seeming to get no traction? Maybe you feel you are going backwards despite trying to seek God’s will. Let the Lord cleanse your soul. Part of the sanctification process requires scrubbing. God cannot abide with our sin, so He finds ways to remove it to make more space for Himself. Though it may hurt, I pray the Lord gives you grace through the drought and a plentiful harvest of spiritual fruit that glorifies God soon.
I had no control over where I was born or who my parents are. God's grace got me to where I am now. Some might say that since I was raised in the southern Bible belt of the United States by Christian parents, it was inevitable that I would still love Jesus today. Sadly, I know countless stories of people raised in Christian homes who have left the faith as adults.
Paul’s conversion to follow Christ strayed from his upbringing as well. His father was a Roman citizen with favored status. He also grew up as a Pharisee who studied the law of Moses. Paul strove to keep the law and forced his fellow Jews to do so also. When Paul heard about Jews converting to Christianity, he was livid.
Instead of displaying curiosity to know who this Jesus was, Paul traveled around imprisoning and killing Christians. No one would expect him to become God’s chosen conduit to bring the gospel to the Gentiles.
Yet, God likes to surprise us. He uses the foolish things of the world, the weak and fallible, so that His glory shines through these jars of clay called humans. If we were great and mighty, we probably would seek the accolades for ourselves instead of praising God for His goodness.
To demonstrate just how gracious He is, God used the most unlikely person as His special vessel. On the road to Damascus, Jesus radically changed Paul’s life trajectory. Instead of killing Christians, Paul suffered greatly himself while conducting several missionary journeys to spread the good news to the Gentiles.
Paul describes himself this way in 1 Corinthians 15:9-10, “For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me” (NKJV).
Paul knew his roots, but he didn’t let it hold him back from following God. He gave all the glory to God for his changed life. Paul knew without his radical intervention; he would have remained on a path of destroying believers in Christ.
His lesson reminds us that no matter how tainted our past, God can use anyone. God has used the areas where I’ve had my biggest struggles and turned them into ministry opportunities later in life. God won’t waste our pain if we let Him transform it into glory for His name.
Also, I remain humbled by Paul’s admission of achieving all he had done solely because of God’s grace towards him. Sometimes, I get ahead of myself and credit my actions to my own efforts. However, none of my accomplishments are possible apart from God’s generous grace towards me. I can’t even create air for my lungs to inhale my next breath. There is no life or hope apart from Christ, but in Him is the abundant riches of living in the light of His glory and grace.
May we always ascribe to God the glory due His Name, knowing we are who we are by the grace of God alone and not by any works of righteousness we have done.
As I celebrate the Fourth of July, the often-said phrase “Freedom is not free” rings through my mind. As a child, I thought Independence Day meant a time for burgers and lollipops the size of my head to lick while watching fireworks. My family named the bursting lights as they lit the sky. Then we rushed away before the grand finale to beat the traffic.
Years later during a trip to Washington, DC, I realized the depth of what my freedom cost. I went to the Vietnam War Memorial on a cold rainy Veteran’s Day, witnessing the names of so many who died. Next, I saw the Korean War memorial where the anguish on the faces of the statues stood to remind the next generation of the horrors of war. The most sobering moment was walking through Arlington Cemetery with row after row of polished white marble headstones representing the lives of countless men and women who died for our country and the freedoms it represents.
We Americans have so many freedoms because our country was founded on Christian principles. The opening of the Declaration of Independence reads “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Our country also holds the freedoms of religion, speech, press, and the right to assemble. I am grateful for everyone who fought and died over the course of our history, that we could keep those rights today.
Many other countries do not hold our democratic principles. They rule with autocratic leaders who seek to make a name for themselves during their time on earth. We have so much to thank God for with the rights and liberties we hold here in America. May we use our freedom wisely.
For believers in Christ in America, not only do we have Constitutional freedoms, we also have freedom from sin that came at a price. First Peter 1:18-19 says, “knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (NKJV).
When a person breaks the law and goes to jail, sometimes they can pay bond to get out of jail. Depending on the crime, bail is set at lower or higher amounts. For our sins against God, no amount of money could ever cover that debt. Instead, Jesus took on the punishment our sins deserved by dying in our place. His priceless blood spilled so that we could be redeemed and set free from the law of sin and death.
What a merciful God we serve. Romans 5:8 reminds us, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (NKJV). Jesus died for us when we were His hostile enemies. Ephesians 2:8-9 reminds us that we can’t boast about saving ourselves. We are saved by grace through faith alone. Our works are worthless when it comes to paying retribution for our sins.
As we examine the cost of our spiritual freedom, may we live differently because of it. We are not to live for ourselves, but for the Lord. 1 Corinthians 6:20 says, “For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (NKJV). The price Jesus paid prompts us to strive for God’s glory instead of our own.
This Independence Day, while we enjoying hamburgers and watching firecrackers, may we not forget the price of freedom. May we thank God for giving us so many freedoms as Americans and spiritual freedom paid in full by the blood of Jesus and live for the Lord.
I met on a Saturday morning with my church’s evangelism team. We studied Scriptures and prayed for God to provide opportunities to share the gospel at the park. Then we broke into small groups to meet with people and point them to Christ.
As we strolled along the concrete sidewalk, I saw a lady playing ball with her son in a large field of grass. I felt the Holy Spirit prompt me to speak to her. I told her we wanted to encourage people. She said, “Thank you.” Then I tried to tell her about Jesus, but she shook her head. I started to walk away when a man from my group asked her to church. She announced that she didn’t speak English.
The accent sounded familiar, but I couldn’t place it. My friend then asked which language she spoke. It was one I had studied in college.
Still, I wanted to leave. I hadn’t used the language in years, and my skills were rusty. I was embarrassed. I tried to justify that if I couldn’t speak clearly, it would reflect poorly on God. Yet, the Holy Spirit wouldn’t let me depart. My feet stuck to the ground until I shared about Jesus.
I wound up having a five-minute gospel conversation in a foreign language with the lady. I felt like I suddenly had the gift of tongues because I understood her and also recalled Christian vocabulary. Amazingly, she grasped my poor grammar and complimented my pronunciation. My mouth gaped in shock. Definitely a work of God.
She said her mother prayed for her. I responded that was nice but not enough. She needed a personal relationship with Christ.
I told her God wanted her to know He loved her so much, that He sent me to share that love in words she could comprehend. She took it as a sign from God and indicated she would look into reading the Bible. I showed her where to download the Bible app to get her language and recommended the book of John.
As I finished my blog series on the “I Am” statements of Jesus, I realized that His story doesn’t stop there. Because of who Jesus is, our lives are changed when we believe in Christ. My encounter at the park reminded me of Paul’s words in Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek” (NKJV).
Jesus didn’t die just for English speakers. He died for all nations, tribes, and tongues (Revelation 7:9). Salvation is for everyone who believes, for the Jews first and also for the Greeks. The Gentiles. People like me. Like the lady on the sidewalk with her little boy. Who knows, maybe one day I will rejoice in heaven standing beside this woman and her son. What a joy that would be. I can’t let shame of unused language skills make me ashamed of the gospel. As a believer, I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ. I pray that God will empower you to be unashamed too.
Once my pastor and his wife gave all the single ladies in church flowers on Valentine’s Day. Those roses turned a dreary day into an array of color and joy. I put the flowers into a vase full of water and dumped in the plant food that came with them. The first few days the petals bloomed bright and filled the room with their sweet aroma. However, by the end of the week the roses started to droop and within two weeks they were dead.
Even though I had provided water and food to nourish the flowers, they had been cut off from the rose bush. They couldn’t stay alive because the source of life was temporary and insufficient to sustain the buds.
The same way the roses needed to stay connected to the vine to survive, we must abide in Jesus to thrive. Jesus said in John 15:5, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing” (NKJV). Jesus is the vine that gives the nutrients we need for our whole lives. We may think that we just receive spiritual food from Jesus, but if we are spiritually undernourished, it will hurt the other areas of our lives. To stay plugged into the source of all live, we must abide in Christ.
The concept of abiding goes beyond taking a week vacation at a hotel. When we remain in God’s Word, we made it our home where we spend all of our time, energy, and efforts. Knowing that we receive the truths we need to flourish drives us to seek out Scriptures for direction in the way to go. When we reside in Christ, we will bear much fruit.
Without Christ, we will be fruitless. My flowers didn’t put themselves in water or add the flower food. I supplied that for them. We cannot muster own strength. Jesus says apart from Him, we can do nothing. That’s right – nothing. Humbling yes, but also encouraging because it means that we aren’t hopeless. God didn’t leave us without a means to fill our needs. He is the vine. We are to stay in Him. John 15:4 says, “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me” (NKJV).
So, what does it look like to abide in Christ? It means not just skimming Scriptures every day to check a box that you read your Bible. Instead, we must feast on God’s Word and meditate on how to apply it to our lives. We ask the Holy Spirit to show us timeless truths in the verses we read. Then He gives us guidance and courage to act on what the Word has directed us to do. Sometimes, obedience is costly or difficult, but it is always the best course of action.
Another method of abiding in Christ is prayer. Personally, I can rattle off my wish list to God and say Amen before I’ve listened to any of God’s thoughts about my desires. I am learning to apply Psalm 37:4, realizing that delighting myself in the Lord is loving the things He loves. To know God’s heart, I must read His Word and listen for His voice. Then instead of having a heart full of my own whims, I can ask for God’s desires to fill me. My delights with align with God’s when I listen to His heartbeat through His Word and prayer.
My prayer is that instead of being cut off from the vine, we may stay rooted deeply in God’s Word and listen to Him through personal prayer time. May we all seek sound advice from fellow believers to help us grow deeper in Christ. Then our lives will bear not only some fruit, but after careful pruning from the Father (John 15:1), we will bear more fruit and eventually much fruit. May our fruit basket glorify the Lord so that our lives and those around us may experience the bountiful and beautiful love of God as abide in the vine of Christ.
Have you ever played the ice breaker game called “Three truths and a lie”? In this game, people share either exciting stories or insignificant things and you try to guess which are true. Let’s play. Here are four statements about me. Can you tell which ones are true and which is a lie?
First: I love coffee. I can’t face mornings without a hot cup of joe.
Second: My favorite dessert is chocolate cake. Yummy to my tummy.
Third: I miss traveling and am eager to go places again.
Fourth: When I wear my gold sparkle shoes, I feel happy.
Maybe you are thinking, hey, this seems like a complicated way to get to know someone. Why should some have to guess what another person likes or not? Why can’t people tell the truth about who they are?
Unlike humans, Christ did not hide His identity. In John 14:6, “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me’” (NKJV*). In one verse, Jesus proclaimed Himself as the way to the Father, as truth embodied, and claimed that eternal life was found in Him. If I made such statements, you would consider me delusional. Jesus spoke no lies. His words are all true because He is the truth.
John 1:14 says, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” Jesus’s life overflowed with grace and truth that glorified His Father and enabled us to catch glimpses of His majesty. Jesus sanctified Himself so that we might be sanctified in His truth (John 17:19).
The Old Testament commandments showed us our sinful nature. No one could be justified by the law (Galatians 2:16). John 1:17 says “For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” The ultimate sacrifice for sins arrived in Christ and ushered in the grace that the law could never provide. The rules served as a tutor to bring us to Christ, so we can be justified by grace through faith (Galatians 3:24; Ephesians 2:8-9). We have a new relationship with God because of the grace and truth we receive through Christ.
Because Jesus is truth, we can be free from sin and sanctified. John 8:32 says, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Knowing Jesus means that we don’t have to live under the curse of the law any more. Death no longer reigns in our mortal bodies. Our sins are covered by God’s mercy, and fear of the Lord drives us to depart from evil (Proverbs 16:6). We become spiritually alive, able to commune with God and live a life that honors Him. We cease from striving because we recognize that all of our righteousness is like filthy rags. Instead, we rest in the completed work of Christ on the cross and cling to hope and abundant life.
Truth is not only a conceivable concept, but a knowable person with whom we can have a relationship. Jesus wants people to know Him and thereby know the truth—so we need to share the truth. In Colossians 1:5, Paul explains how we have hope in heaven because someone shared the gospel with us.
We didn’t think up salvation on our own. Someone used words to tell us about Jesus. No only do our lives need to be a good example, but our words need to proclaim the good news of Jesus with everyone we met so they may also know the truth. God desires for everyone to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4), so we must point people to the one true God. The God who can be known to us through Jesus.
I tried to help you get to know me better through the ice breaker. Did you find the lie? If you guessed chocolate cake is not my favorite, you are right! Give me carrot cake any day of the week and keep the chocolate. Jesus doesn’t try to trick us. Every word He said is true and right. I pray that we study His Word to know Him better so that we can discern truth from lies about Jesus and proclaim the gospel to everyone we meet.
* What are three truths about Christ that you appreciate?
* Who are three people with whom you can share the gospel?
*All verses are in NKJV.
Joanna Eccles has led Bible studies for over twenty years and completed the year-long C. S. Lewis Fellows Program. She is passionate about discipleship and helping people grow in Christ. Joanna enjoys coffee and reading, and currently lives in Florida.